I didn’t know that getting elected to Congress was a fast track to being able to play doctor. They finally have passed a funding bill to address the Zika virus in the United States but added some pretty unusual addendums…and of course prescribed how the funds could be directed.
The House passed a proposal that allocates $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus — just over half the amount the Obama administration requested four months ago to stop the epidemic.
Democrats are furious that Republicans short-changed the president’s funding request. They are particularly upset that the bill excludes $50 million in requested funds for maternal and child health and blocks supplemental funds from going to Planned Parenthood for birth control services. The bill mandates that the Zika funds be prioritized for mosquito control programs, vaccines and diagnostics, leaving no resources for contraceptives or condoms (emphasis mine).
So instead of allowing health professionals take whatever actions they deem necessary, the House is dictating what they can and can’t do? BTW: do we even have a viable vaccine yet?
But never fear:
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the bill would sufficiently address the crisis.
“It is a responsible plan that assures the administration will continue to have the needed resources to protect the public,” he said.
I wish there was a responsible plan to protect the public from House Speaker Paul Ryan.
And the White House response:
“It is clear that once again, Republicans have put political games ahead of the health and safety of the American people, particularly pregnant women and their babies,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “This plan from congressional Republicans is four months late and nearly a billion dollars short of what our public health experts have said is necessary to do everything possible to fight the Zika virus, and steals funding from other health priorities.”
One more time the House GOP is slow to react to a looming health issue…some parts of the country are months into the mosquito season already…and then take a strange turn and blunt the ability of our health care providers to do their jobs effectively (remember Ebola?).